Too Hot for Spot: “National Pet Fire Safety Day” Tips to Keep Pets Safe
RITZ (pictured here) is available for adoption.
July 15 is National Pet Fire Safety Day and it reminds us that pets are often vulnerable victims of home fires. An estimated 500,000 pets are affected annually by house fires, according to a data analysis by the National Fire Protection Association.
Planning for unexpected emergencies like home fires and taking these precautions are an integral part of responsible pet ownership.The following tips are suggestions for pet owners on how to prevent your beloved pet from starting a fire, as well as how to keep your pets safe.
What you can do to keep your pets safe:
Keep Pets Near Entrances When Away From Home – Keep collars on pets and leashes ready-to-go in case firefighters need to rescue your pet. When leaving pets home alone, keep them in areas or rooms near entrances where firefighters can easily find them.
Secure Young Pets - Especially with young puppies, keep them confined away from potential fire-starting hazards when you are away from home such as in crates or behind baby gates in secure areas.
Since Pets Left Alone Can’t Escape a Burning Home – Consider using monitored smoke detectors which are connected to a monitoring center so emergency responders can be contacted when you’re not home. These systems provide an added layer of protection beyond battery-operated smoke alarms.
Affix a Pet Alert Window Cling Like Ours – Write down the number of pets inside your house and attach the static cling to a front window.Thiscritical information saves rescuers time when locating your pets. Make sure to update the number of pets listed. Pick up one of our “Pet Rescue” window clings at an ARL shelter today!
Special thanks to all of the firefighters out there who put their own lives at risk every day to help people and their pets.
Too Hot for Spot Tuesday Tip: Thunderstorm Dog Safety
If you’re like some dog owners, you’ve probably had several sleepless nights over the last week thanks to your dog’s “thunder phobia” resulting from the severe thunderstorms that have been plaguing the Northeast.
This fear can manifest in a variety of ways including – hiding, whining, scratching, slobbering, or destructive behavior – and it can get worse with age. Dogs possess special sensitivities that can make storms more terrifying. They can sense the change in air pressure, and may hear low-frequency rumblings that we, humans, can’t detect.
So, if you want to help calm your pup (and hopefully get some “shut-eye”) during the next thunderstorm, try these 5 tips:
Stay with your dog if you can. Having you by his side will make him feel safer.
If there are windows in the room, close the blinds or curtains, or cover the windows so the dog can’t see outside.
Create a safe haven. Hiding is a natural instinct, so provide your dog with a safe indoor area, like a crate. If you have a wire crate, cover it with a light sheet. Leave the door open so your dog doesn’t feel trapped.
Play calming music to drown out the thunder.
Distract your dog. Try playing his favorite game and giving him treats. He might learn to associate storms with fun and play, rather than anxiety and fear.
If none of these work and your dog’s “thunder phobia” is really out of control, consult with your veterinarian.
“Cases like hers are the reason that many of us got into the business of rescuing animals: there is nothing more rewarding than seeing an animal that was previously neglected transform with some TLC.” – Dr. Kate Gollon, shelter veterinarian at the Animal Rescue League of Boston
Almost two months ago, a very kind person brought Madeline to our Dedham shelter after discovering the 8-year-old cat unable to move in the backyard of her home where someone had left her. Shelter staff instantly observed the fur on Madeline’s hind quarters appeared thickly matted and that she couldn’t move her back legs.
Her sweet temperament and soft, steady purr touched the hearts of shelter veterinarian Dr. Kate Gollon and all the Dedham staff as they worked to make her comfortable with pain medications and by shaving off the mass of tangles on her lower body.
Dr. Gollon determined Madeline had nearly 4 inches of mats over 70% of her body. The bag of her shaved matted fur tipped the scales at over a pound. The twisted condition of her coat had clearly forced her to go to the bathroom on herself and likely prevented her from walking for some time. Even after shelter staff shaved her fur, she couldn’t walk on her very weak back legs.
When diagnostic tests including x-rays and bloodwork did not provide a more definitive reason for the weakness in her back legs, Dr. Gollon prescribed a regimen of daily physical therapy to help Madeline recover her strength and mobility. Staff gave Madeline time post-shave to recuperate and get to know them before carefully and caringly beginning to work with her to get her walking.
At first, staff gently moved her back legs for her, three times a day. Gradually, they helped her stand by placing her in a sling to support her weight while getting her up on all fours. Once her ability to support herself improved, staff worked with her on walking across the floor and maneuvering changes in elevation. To give her some added traction on the polished cement floors at the shelter, staff would place a touch of Vaseline on her paw pads.
Everyone at the Dedham shelter felt as proud as mamma cats watching Madeline’s amazing progress as she confidently strolled to them and maneuvered up carpeted steps for the first time!
A dedicated ARL foster volunteer brought Madeline to her home to help her re-acclimate to living with people. Though the determined kitty remains a bit unsteady on her hind legs, she shows no signs they are holding her back. According to her foster mom, Madeline loves to explore and happily curls up on the couch for a good snooze afterwards.
We’re very happy to report Madeline is ready for adoption! Scotties Facial Tissue will cover her adoption fee this weekend, so come visit the ARL’s Dedham shelter and read her adoption profile to learn more about her.
Because of her unsteady legs, she would do best in a home with carpet. A one-story house or apartment, or a home where she would spend most of her time in one big room or have access to her litter box and food without having to climb stairs would make for the ideal situation for Madeline.
In the words of Dr. Gollon: “Madeline is a special cat and quite a survivor! The family who adopts her will most definitely fall in love with her as much as we have at ARL.”
Scotties Facial Tissue & ARL Partner for Shelter Cat Public Service Announcement
With less than a week left to adopt a fee-waived cat at the Animal Rescue League, the ARL and Scotties Facial Tissue want to remind everyone about the benefits of adopting a cat from a shelter. Watch our video below:
When you adopt a cat from an animal shelter like the ARL, you give a cat a chance at a better life. All adoptable cats and kittens at the ARL also receive:
“Rugby’s story highlights all the wonderful people in the ARL network who are dedicated to helping neglected animals.”
- Dr. Edward Schettino, Director of Veterinary Medical Services, ARL
When we first met Rugby back in April, he could have been the poster child for our “See Something, Say Something: Report Animal Cruelty,” campaign running that month.
At the time, he was 4 1/2 months old and had been cruelly abandoned in the middle of the road in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. His front legs were severely twisted at the wrists, so Rugby could only get around by doing a haphazard crawl. Thankfully, someone reported spotting Rugby inching his way along the road where he’d been left, and Lt. Alan Borgal, director of the ARL’s Center for Animal Protection, brought him to the ARL’s Boston Shelter.
When Dr. Edward Schettino, the ARL’s director of veterinary medical services, examined Rugby at the shelter, he observed the spirited young dog was very underweight. Dr. Schettino concluded the condition of Rugby’s front legs was probably due to poor nutrition and long-term confinement to a very small crate. After reviewing x-rays of Rugby’s front legs with his colleagues, Dr. Schettino preliminarily diagnosed Rugby with bilateral carpal laxity syndrome, a condition that could require surgery or could also respond to a diet of well-balanced adult dog-food and a program of rigorous exercise.
Rigorous exercise seemed to be the best course of treatment for Rugby! A rambunctious dog, Rugby already had ARL behaviorists, staff, and trained volunteers working with him to help him channel his energies into playing with other dogs and chew toys.
And getting him moving helped on the medical and behavioral front indeed!
Within a few weeks, Rugby’s front legs were improving. The ARL collaborated on his treatment with colleagues at the ARL and Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. To increase strength in his legs, Rugby began underwater treadmill therapy twice a week, under the supervision of the ARL’s Dr. Alett Mekler and the physical therapists at Animotion in Stoughton, Massachusetts, who donated their time and services.
In just under three months, Rugby has come incredibly far in his rehabilitation. He is moving well on his front legs and his sweet, playful personality makes everyone at the shelter smile–even when he’s a bit of a handful (written with love and a smile, of course).
Thanks to the collaborative effort of our Center for Animal Protection, shelter veterinarians, dog behaviorists, shelter staff, volunteers, Tufts University Cummings School, and Animotion, this miracle puppy is now ready for a new home!
According to shelter staff, an experienced dog owner preferably with another dog would be the best situation for Rugby–the guy really needs a playmate to keep him on his toes and moving! He’s still working on his jumpy/mouthy behavior, so an active household with older children would be more suited to his big personality and energy-level.
Got CATS on your mind? The ARL sure does during national Adopt-a-Cat Month this June!
Join us tomorrow for this month’s ALL ABOUT CATS twitter chat, where Dr. Edward Schettino, director of veterinary medical services, will take your questions and offer veterinary advice to help you maintain your cat’s good health.
How often should you trim your cat’s claws? Does your cat need to eat wet food? What’s the best remedy for hairballs? What should you do if you see a feral cat? Is non-prescription flea and tick treatment safe for cats? Find out answers to these questions and ask Dr. Schettino your own!
To participate in the conversation, follow the ARL on Twitter (@arlboston) and submit your questions using the hashtag #ARLAskaVet. Questions may be submitted on Twitter real time or in advance.
There’s just one more week until Paws in the Park! We hope you’ll join us for one of the largest pet festivals on Cape Cod. The event, which takes place on Saturday, May 31 from 11am-2pm will benefit the ARL’s Brewster shelter and promises fun for your whole family, including your pup!
The first 400 people will receive a free swag bag filled with goodies for you and your pet, so don’t forget to set your alarm!
We’d like to extend a big thank you to presenting sponsor Nauset Pet Services, who is the title sponsor for the 4th consecutive year.
$3 admission fee for adults, FREE for children 12 years and under.
Thanks to very gracious donors we have some fantastic raffle prizes for you. Tickets are $2 per raffle ticket and winners will be drawn at 1:45pm. If you have to leave early, don’t worry, you don’t need to be present to win! See what you could win below:
One night stay at the Seaport Hotel in Boston
$100 Gift Certificate to Ark Angel Animal Hospital
$100 Gift Card to Addison Art Gallery
Two $50 Gift Cards to Arnold’s Clam Shack with mini golf passes (2 separate prizes)
$50 Gift Card to Laurino’s Tavern
$25 Gift Card to Zia Pizzeria
Gift Certificate to Brax Landing
Gift certificate for a Dolphin Fleet Whale Watch and a canvas whale tote from The Brewster Stitch
Dinner for two at Pisces of Chatham
Dinner for four at The Chatham Squire
Wine Lover’s Package – Case of Joseph Carr Wines, 4 custom wine glasses from Cape Cod Glass Designs and a $25 gift card to Main Street Wine & Gourmet
A Year’s Supply of Treats from Blue Dog Bakery
Photo Session for your dog with Cold Nose Photo
Framed autographed photo, used stick shaft and net from Boston Bruins player Brad Marchand
Gift basket from The Honest Kitchen
Gift basket from Lower Cape Veterinary Services
Gift Basket from The Cape Cod Dog
Small Dog Gift Basket from Agway of Cape Cod
Large Dog Gift Basket from Agway of Cape Cod
5 Blow-n-Bubbles Self-Serve Dog Washes at Hot Diggity Dog Wash (5 winners)
Stroller for small dog
“Paws in the Park” cornhole set by Cape Cod Cornholes donated by Agway
Nicki is a sweet 7-year-old Bluetick hound mix who’s been waiting for a furever home for just over a month. She loves to go outside for walks and is very well-behaved on leash. She’s also very smart and will gladly give paw and play fetch.
Like all hounds, Nicki has a passion for sniffing! The moment she’s out the door, her nose is to the ground and she turns into Nicki the hound detective – investigating any scent she comes across!
She is a very friendly dog who warms up quickly, especially if you have treats!
Because Nicki doesn’t always like to share her things, she would do best in a home as the only pet with no small children.
Nicki would like nothing more than to come home with you this weekend!
National Dog Bite Prevention Week allows us the opportunity to share some of the impressive findings that have resulted from a study by the ARL’s Center for Shelter Dogs. Dr. Marder shares her conclusions on dog bite related fatalities.
Although very rare, fatal dog bites consistently capture media and public attention. Often the breed of the dog pre-dominates the conversation. As a result, much of public policy discussion related to the prevention of dog bites in general has focused on breed-specific legislation.
The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), however, recently published the most comprehensive study of dog bite-related fatalities (DBRFs) ever done which directly challenges the conventional wisdom to focus on breed. The results of the study come as welcome news to organizations including the AVMA, ASPCA, Humane Society of the United States, and the ARL who have opposed breed-specific legislation.
Dr. Amy Marder, director at the ARL’s Center for Shelter Dogs (CSD), and Dr. Gary Patronek, a consultant to CSD, joined co-authors Jeffrey Sacks, lead author on earlier studies of DBRFs, and Karen Delise and Donald Cleary, both of the National Canine Research Council, in an in-depth analysis of all DBRFs known to have occurred during a ten-year period between 2000–2009.
The authors employed investigative techniques different than those used in previous dog bite or DBRF studies.
Instead of relying primarily on information contained in news accounts, researchers compiled detailed case histories from homicide detectives, animal control agencies, and case investigators. Using these sources, researchers collected information over a longer period of time, revealing more facts pertaining to each case.
Analysis revealed four or more controllable factors were present in over 80% of fatal dog bites. Very importantly, breed was not one of those factors.
The authors found:
• In 87% of cases, no able-bodied person was present to intervene
• In 85% of cases, the victim had no familiar relationship with the dog
• In 84% of cases, the owner failed to spay/neuter the dog
• In 77% of cases, whether because of age or physical condition, a victim had compromised ability to manage their interactions with the dog
• In 76% of cases, the owner kept a dog as a resident dog on a property, rather than as a family pet
• In 38% of cases, the owner had previously mismanaged the dog
• In 21% of cases, the owner had abused or neglected the dog
In only 45 (18%) of DBRF cases could researchers make a valid determination that the animal was a member of a distinct, recognized breed. Twenty different breeds, along with two known mixes, were identified in connection with those 45 incidents.
So what can we learn from all of this? Based on the data, the most logical conclusion is repealing breed-specific legislation. Additionally, there need to be more efforts directed at improving our collective understanding of dog behavior, as well as how dogs are cared for and managed in our communities. This will have a much greater impact on bite prevention and control.
We’re delighted to share that the Animal Rescue League’s application for permission to install K-9 grass in the Boston play yard was unanimously approved by the South End Landmarks Commission last week.
The proposed K-9 grass represents a huge improvement over the current stone/grass/dirt surface, which will be very good for dogs and for the appearance of the space.
Our application sailed through on both its merits and with the overwhelming support expressed by our South End neighbors and Mayor Walsh’s office. We were able to submit a total of 432 signatures expressing community support for our project!
There are many people to thank for organizing our presentation and collecting signatures.
Our volunteers as always stepped up in a big way. Thank you to Astrid and Peter Rapoza, Mal Malme, Maria Uribe, Michelle S, Marna Terry and Kerry and Gus Pena.
Along with our volunteers, several local businesses collected signatures including Berkeley Perk, Rome’s Pizza, Emelio’s Pizza, Billy’s Lunch Café and the Berkeley Barber Shop.
We’d also like to thank ARL staff, especially Bob Williams our Director of Facilities who was the champion of this project. Bob left no stone unturned from the research for finding the right surface material, to the presentation and overall coordination.
“I am very grateful for the above and beyond effort here; it will mean so much to ARL and dogs in our care,” said ARL president, Mary Nee.
Construction will start this summer! Stay tuned for details.